Geographies in Depth

What are the EU’s fastest-growing jobs now? And what will they be in the future?

Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat.

Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat. Image: Unsplash/Bethany Legg

Stefan Ellerbeck
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • Hospitality and travel industry jobs have seen the biggest rise in the EU in the past year, according to new statistics.
  • The relaxation of many COVID-19 restrictions is likely to have played a part in this growth.
  • But roles such as data analysts and scientists, as well as AI and robotics specialists, are increasingly in demand as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gets under way.

Europe’s economy has been battered by some serious headwinds in recent years, but unemployment rates have not been hit as hard, according to new figures.

COVID-19 put a sizeable dent into the bloc’s growth, with GDP falling by almost 6% in 2020 from the year before, according to EU statistics office Eurostat. Russia’s war on Ukraine has since threatened energy supplies and fuelled inflation levels not seen for decades.

Despite this, the EU economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 4% year on year in the second quarter of 2022, defying fears that it may go into recession. And Eurozone unemployment held stable month on month at 6.6% in June, according to Eurostat. It was down by 1.3% from the same time last year as people return to work following pandemic restrictions.

Jobs Euro area EU unemployment rates
EU unemployment averaged 6.6% in June 2022 Image: Eurostat

Unemployment is highest in Spain and Greece at more than 12%. Joblessness in the Czech Republic is the lowest in the EU at 2.4%.

Hospitality and travel drive EU jobs growth

Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat. The biggest rise has been in food preparation assistants, growing by just over 25%, from nearly 1.1 million to almost 1.4 million workers.

Next on the list are what are described as “personal service workers”. This includes roles in the travel industry, such as attendants and guides, as well as cooks, waiters and bartenders in the hospitality sector. There has been a 15.6% rise in the number of people working in these areas, taking it to 7.6 million.

People socializing and travelling again after the end of COVID-19 restrictions is likely to have played a part in this growth.

Hospitality and travel sector jobs have grown most in the EU in the last year.
Hospitality and travel sector jobs have grown most in the EU in the last year. Image: Eurostat

Roles in information and communications technology came in third place, rising by 9.6% to 4.5 million people. This group includes people working in areas such as software and app development.

The biggest decrease in job numbers came in agricultural, forestry and fishery work, with a drop of 12.6%.

‘The Great Reshuffle’

New McKinsey research provides some context on the global post-pandemic labour market. It says 40% of workers are considering moving jobs, with lockdowns having given them time to reflect on their life priorities.

This thinking time could be why workers aren’t just moving to do the same thing elsewhere. Nearly half of those surveyed are heading to different industries.

An infographic showing the status of respondents who had quit their jobs between April 2020 and April 2022, selected industries
Many workers are quitting their jobs to move into different industries. Image: McKinsey

Many are also moving to temporary or part-time roles in the gig economy. This may explain the marked growth in hospitality-related jobs in the Eurozone.


How is the World Economic Forum improving working conditions in the gig economy?

The McKinsey research also provides further evidence that workers with sought-after skills – such as data scientists and programmers – are more likely to find changing jobs easier.

The future of work

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report says many more new job roles will emerge in the near future. Around 97 million positions suited to a division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms may appear as soon as 2025, it says.

Roles that are increasingly in demand include data analysts and scientists, and AI and robotics specialists, the Forum says – a trend borne out by the latest EU job statistics.

The report adds that although 85 million jobs may be displaced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this disruption will be counterbalanced by the job creation in new fields.

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Related topics:
Geographies in DepthJobs and the Future of Work
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